Fashion Law Institute at Comic-Con!

Graphic with three diamond-shaped superhero shields, each respectively with Native American sun design, Tao image, and Africa with green-yellow-red stripes

The Fashion Law Institute returns to San Diego for five panels on fashion law and pop culture! Professor Susan Scafidi and Associate Director will be part of panels including leading designers, such as Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein and Black Panther jewelry designer Douriean Fletcher; Fashion Law Bootcamp alum and Geekfold founder Lisa Granshaw, and other industry professionals for discussions of the legal side of key issues in geek culture today.

The panels:

Comics, Costumes, and Cultural Appropriation
Modern comics, animation, and related media exhibit an unprecedented degree of diverse representation, but they also raise serious questions about cultural appropriation. Must creators color within the lines of their own heritage? Is wearing a Black Panther costume problematic for anyone not of African descent? Does using folklore or cultural imagery require asking permission from source communities-or even paying them royalties? Jeff Trexler (Fordham School of Law, Fashion Law Institute), Susan Scafidi (Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law), Douriean Fletcher (; specialty jeweler, Black Panther), and Joseph P. Illidge (Valiant) discuss the history, theory, and ethics of comics and cultural exchange.

Careers in Geek Fashion
Geek fashion is an industry that continues to grow each year, and you don’t have to be a designer to work in it. Panelists talk about the career paths available in geek fashion, looking at the jobs within and outside of fashion companies. Moderated by Lisa Granshaw (GeekFold), panelists Sarah Buzby (Ubisoft), Allison Cimino (RockLove Jewelry), Catherine Elhoffer (Elhoffer Design), Jeff Trexler (Fashion Law Institute), and WinterArtwork will discuss their careers and the ways people can work in the industry. There will be a Q&A so panelists can answer any career questions you might have.

The Her Universe Workshop
Want to get in to the business of geek fashion? Calling all designers, artists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. Founder of Her Universe Ashley Eckstein takes a deep dive into the business behind some of your favorite brands. Joining Ashley will be Trevor Schultz, founder of Loungefly; Cindy Levitt, SVP of licensing/Hot Topic; Theresa Mercado, VP of product development/Hot Topic and Professor Susan Scafidi, founder and director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School.

Publishers Weekly: Crowdfunding Ethics and Evolution
Crowdfunding has become an established method of publishing, but as it has grown, questions about how to use it have arisen. What’s the right thing to do when a Kickstarter goes wrong? What’s the next step in crowdfunding? What’s the future of Patreon and Drip? Calvin Reid, Kel McDonald (Sorcery 101), Josh O’Neil (Beehive Press), attorney Jeff Trexler, and Camilla Zhang (Kickstarter) discuss legal and ethical issues in crowdfunding and the latest trends.

“Crazy” Together: The Future of Mental Health and Pop Culture
Mental health is everywhere you look in pop culture. From the Upside Down to the MCU, entertainment media depictions of mental health are increasingly common. But while Stranger Things and Jessica Jones help to normalize mental health challenges, some inaccurate and stigmatizing portrayals persist. How do we further encourage diversity and sensitivity without stifling creativity? Felicia D. Henderson (The Punisher TV series; Teen Titans) will discuss how depictions of trauma and PTSD inform the characterization of Frank Castle. Joseph D. Reitman (Happy! TV series) will talk about his approach to making his character Very Bad Santa more than just a two-dimensional villain. Should the entertainment industry be concerned about how their properties represent mental illness? Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., (Broadcast Thought, All We Ever Wanted) discusses some of his successes and struggles as a forensic psychiatrist advocating for more accurate and less stigmatizing mental health media representation. Jeff Trexler (The Beat, The Comics Journal) will contextualize the discussion and encourage the audience to become more mindful consumers of mental-health-themed media. Moderated by Susan Karlin (Fast Company), this panel will encourage creators, clinicians, and fans to get “crazy” together, shaping the future of mental health and pop culture.